Waiver to benefit people dealing with mental illness or drug abuse

Waiver to benefit people dealing with mental illness or drug abuse

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - An Institution for Mental Diseases waiver has been approved to increase mental health and addiction services in Oklahoma.

For the last 50-years, there has been a federal law stating that Medicaid couldn’t reimburse in-patient psychiatric care or residential substance abuse services to anyone between the ages of 19 and 64.

Traylor Rains with the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority said a few years ago the federal government started allowing Medicaid agencies to apply for the IMD wavier to override that law.

“It’s been a year-long process which in the waiver world and the federal government is actually pretty quick. We have submitted all of our documents and received approval from CMS on December the 22nd. We began accepting prior authorization requests for adults in in-patient psychiatric settings beginning on the 23rd. So far we have processed a little over 20, so that 20 individuals that will be able to receive the service and have it reimbursed through sooner care that otherwise wouldn’t of had that opportunity,” Rains said.

Rains said this waiver will allow residential substance and addiction treatments through sooner care on January 18.

It’ll benefit in-patient mental health facilities also.

“In particular in Lawton, we have a couple of facilities one of which is Jim Taliaferro Community Mental Health Center. They have some acute setting beds there as well as crisis beds. Right now we have been limited in providing crisis care in facilities with 16 or less beds, this will allow us to increase those beds numbers in crisis care centers as well as acute, and psychiatric beds for adults as well,” Rains said.

Rains believe the approval came at the right time, as a Medicaid expansion is coming July 1.

“Traditionally you had to have what we call a category relationship to Medicaid meaning their age, blind, disabled, or kiddo, or a pregnant women,” Rains said.

Now any adult under the income threshold for Medicaid will be eligible.

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